Wilsonvilles Samantha Prusse becomes state champion
It was a rainy Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College when it happened. Wilsonville junior Samantha Prusse became a state champion in the 1,500 meters. Among 12 other runners, and seven personal best times, Prusse stood above with a time of 4:45.48. That championship mark was not her best, 4 seconds shy in fact, but it was 2 seconds ahead of Hood River Valley junior Frances Dickinson.
"I thought it would be a faster time, but no one wanted to lead so the first 200 I got out like regular," Prusse said. "No one, I could feel it, no one was pushing on me, and I thought I could slow down. So I did slow down, and my time was really slow. But the last 400 or 600, Frances started kicking, and I thought, 'I feel OK, I'll stay with her. I'll just go for it.' I did, and it worked out pretty well."
Though Prusse felt nervous before the race, the weather was far from perfect, and the venue was not the usual University of Oregon, ultimately the experience was worth the hurdles she had to overcome.
"I'm pretty disappointed that we weren't in Eugene, but I'm pretty grateful just to be here," Prusse said. "It's track; I don't really care where I run."
Prusse also took seventh place in the 800 meters with a time of 2:22.32, trailing teammate Jillian Greene by 1 second, and was a part of the 4x400-meter relay team that took ninth place with a time of 4:14.95. This was Prusse's third straight appearance in the state championships.
A track athlete since the sixth grade, Prusse also has dabbled in soccer, lacrosse, tennis, golf and softball. Despite all of those activities and various interests, Prusse has continued to return to track and field and cross country.
"Running makes me feel better about myself by pushing my body to the limits," Prusse said. "It makes me feel grateful for my accomplishments because I worked hard to achieve them. Running is different from all of the other sports because you have to be committed every day. I believe running at any level of speed is beneficial not only to the body, but the mind."
Now a state champion and state qualifier in multiple events, multiple years in a row, the future holds many opportunities for the strong distance runner.
"Next year my goals for cross country are to break 18 minutes in the 5K, and get around 10:30 for the 3K," Prusse said. "At state, I want to get top two. Last year at state was very disappointing because I didn't give my all. Hopefully, this summer I can talk to more coaches and get college stuff figured out so I'm not stressed during the school year."
In hindsight, the track and field season was a success for Wilsonville. There were a plethora of personal records over the course of the season, a pair of district titles, and on a personal note, Prusse got to compete with her younger sister, Gabriella. It was a season to be grateful for.
"I'm looking forward to the years to come because our runners, jumpers and throwers are young and will only get better," Prusse said. "My ongoing goal since freshman year has been to transform the girls team to be closer. I'm proud to say my team is welcoming to any skill level, which makes us so successful. Last year for cross country we got second in state for girls and we're hoping this year to get first."
Other Wilsonville marks from the state meet are below:
Senior Trevor Johnson took 11th place in the 800-meter prelims with a time of 2:04.31.
Senior Jillian Greene took sixth place in the 800-meter finals with a mark of 2:21.92.
Freshman Gabriella Prusse took 11th place in the 3,000 meters in her state championship debut with a personal best time of 10:53.22.
The boys 4x100-meter relay team of David Tapia, Cade Butterworth, Henry Tellez, and Rocco Marshall finished 10th place with a time of 45.81.
The girls 4x400-meter relay team of Haley Stahl, the Prusse sisters, and Greene finished in ninth place with a time of 4:14.95.
Senior Mike Church took 10th place in the shot put with a throw of 45'8.75", and 10th place in the javelin with a 155'3".
In the discus, senior Nehemiah Barkley finished in 11th place with a throw of 133'8".
Senior Lauren LaFreniere ended her high school career in the shot put with a throw of 33'2.75".
Sophomore Madison Jones took seventh place in the discus with a throw of 105'6".
In the high jump, Wilsonville freshman Kellen Hartford finished in 10th place with a leap of 5'10". Fellow freshman Cooper Becklin didn't post a height.
In the javelin, a pair of throwers took ninth and 10th. Junior Kayla Hieb was in the former spot with a throw of 102'6", and senior Delaney Dougherty was right behind her with a throw of 102'5".
In the long jump, freshman Rocco Marshall finished in 12th place with a jump of 18'1.75".
In the triple jump, Hartford took 12th place with a jump of 38'10.25".
Para-athlete and Wilsonville senior Kayla Bolnick took fifth place in the 400-meter race with a time of 1:34.94, and third place in the 1,500 meters with a time of 6:24.35.